It’s Not Easy Being Green

Poor Kermit would have had an even worse time of it had he lived in the Middle Ages. Frogs and toads were, frankly, considered to be the worst: they were associated with the devil and thought to be a favourite form of familiar for a witch. Indeed, in North Cambridgeshire, an old word for “bewitching” … Continue reading It’s Not Easy Being Green

Nobody Expects the English Inquisition

As I’ve mentioned on a few occasions now, a couple of years ago I finished an MA dissertation looking at Medieval magic trials in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (intro here). A lot of people who weren’t face-first in this period of history like me expected to hear me talk about witch hunts and the … Continue reading Nobody Expects the English Inquisition

The Pythonissa: A Slippery Soothsayer

Here’s a new insult for you. Margery Ryvel was excommunicated by the church in April 1348 for practising divination, superstition and illusion. Whichever clerk wrote the Latin report that survives in the Register of John de Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter, clearly did not like her or her activities. The report reads as a barely-concealed rant … Continue reading The Pythonissa: A Slippery Soothsayer

Carry On, Don’t Lose Your Head

Just because you’ve been decapitated doesn’t mean you have to stop helping your friends. On and off over the past couple of months I’ve been researching into one of my favourite magic cases about a man planning to trap a spirit inside a severed head, and today I realised – bugger – that I’ve been … Continue reading Carry On, Don’t Lose Your Head

Dick Tales (with apologies to Disney’s ‘Duck Tales’)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that genitalia are funny (and that starting an article in such a way is a massive cliché, I’m sorry). Especially dicks. All through history you can find graffiti of penises, crude jokes and the like. I really don’t know why – perhaps it’s to be edgy, explore taboo ideas … Continue reading Dick Tales (with apologies to Disney’s ‘Duck Tales’)

Medieval Magic, Folklore and Superstition: the Dissertation Stirs…

I've been rather quiet recently because I've been a busy bee working on my masters degree. All the teaching is out of the way now, so it's time to get my teeth into some proper research. Like my very good friend over at Grendel's Handbag (who you should go and check out RIGHT NOW, especially … Continue reading Medieval Magic, Folklore and Superstition: the Dissertation Stirs…